49 Citation Steps for Any Style

  1. Determine the citation style required for your paper or project and refresh your memory on the formatting rules using that citation styles handbook (your college library should have a copy for you to use) or using an online guide, like Excelsior OWL or Citation and Writing Guides from Penn State University Libraries.
  2. Remember to include your in-text citations as you are writing your paper or pulling your project together. If you don’t include them as you go, it is easy to forget to go back and cite the source, which could lead to accidental plagiarism! See the section on When to Cite Sources at the end of this chapter to learn when you will and will not need to include an in-text citation.
  3. Identify the information source type you are creating a full bibliographic citation for, since the citation format looks different for different types of information sources. Sometimes, especially online, it can be hard to tell! If you aren’t sure what type of source something is or how to format your citation, ask a librarian or writing tutor.
  4. Compile your cited sources at the end of your paper or project, being sure to follow the formatting rules of the citation style you are using throughout the assignment. See the section on Citation Generators, next, for information about helpful tools for this task.


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Introduction to College Research Copyright © by Walter D. Butler; Aloha Sargent; and Kelsey Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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